Virginia and Massachusetts Bay Colonies History


Virginia and the Massachusetts Bay Colonies were the two large settlements founded at the beginning of the seventieth century. Their appearance, though motivated by different ideologies and purposes, has made a significant contribution to the future of the USA. Taking into account the basic structural principles of these colonies, the Virginian one seems to offer a more favorable life organization.

Compare and contrast the colonies

First of all, the foundation of the Virginia colony primarily pursued economic aims. The Englishmen headed for the new land in the search for prosperity and wealth. In fact, despite the difficulties and the hard working conditions, the settlers finally managed to reach their aim. Due to the enormous success of the tobacco-growing industry, the colony soon turned into a flourishing settlement. On the contrary, though the Massachusetts colonists proclaimed to aim at creating a better Christian community, it instantly turned out that they were the same greedy for new lands and sources as the Virginian colonists were. However, the Massachusetts settlers were unlucky to choose a less beneficial geographic location than their Virginian prototypes. The natural resources of their land were not very plentiful, and the climate conditions were rather severe.

In spite of the fact that both colonies made some attempts to establish self-governmental systems, the outcome of their efforts was not very stable. Both settlements experienced numerous confrontations with the Native Americans. Nevertheless, one should point out that the Virginian colonists took some measures to avoid the conflicts – John Roofs got married to an Indian Princess, which was supposed to reduce the tension. Besides, the Virginians were the first founders of the American representative government – it was them who formed the Virginia House of Burgesses. The Massachusetts colonists, in their turn, created the Mayflower, but the colony was, in fact, under royal control.

The life organization in the two colonies was completely opposite. To begin with, one has to admit that both the colonies greatly suffered from starvation and various diseases, which made a part of the settlers decide to return home. However, in spite of the similar challenges, the lifestyle patterns were considerably different. While the Massachusetts settlers would stick to the conservative family and religious values, the Virginian people were not gravely concerned about any social institutions. The constant need to grow more crops made the settlers expand their territory and, thus, change their lodging, once in a while. Their roving style of life did not let them acquire a permanent home. This set of things caused diverse problems; nonetheless, the freedom of convictions supplied these people with relatively low religious tension inside the settlement. By comparison, the Massachusetts religious severity led to a series of terrible consequences. The incident with some acts of strange behavior among a dozen of women provoked an entire succession of deaths – on suspicion of bewitchment people had to undergo trials, accusations, and executions.


Due to the same period of their foundation, the two colonies had to face similar difficulties: unfriendly working environment, starvation, tense relations with locals, and the necessity of governmental organization. Meanwhile, the difference in the pursued aims and the geographic locations predetermined the further course of events. Although the Massachusetts colony’s lifestyle proved to be more reasonable and long-lasting, the challenging spirit of the Virginians makes one wish to become one of them.


Baewer, M., Hansen, D., & Enterprises, B. (2013). Adventures in Colonial America: Volume I The Massachusetts Bay Colony. Baewer Enterprises.

"Looking for a Similar Assignment? Order now and Get a Discount!

Place New Order
It's Free, Fast & Safe

"Looking for a Similar Assignment? Order now and Get a Discount!